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De Ferrari G.M.,Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo | De Ferrari G.M.,Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center
Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research | Year: 2014

Heart failure (HF) is accompanied by an autonomic imbalance that is almost always characterized by both increased sympathetic activity and withdrawal of vagal activity. Experimentally, vagal stimulation has been shown to exert profound antiarrhythmic activity and to improve cardiac function and survival in HF models. A open-label pilot clinical study in 32 patients with chronic HF has shown safety and tolerability of chronic vagal stimulation associated with subjective (improved quality of life and 6-min walk test) and objective improvements (reduced left ventricular systolic volumes and improved left ventricular ejection fraction). Three larger clinical studies, including a phase III trial are currently ongoing and will evaluate the clinical role of this new approach. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media.

Ferraioli G.,University of Pavia | Tinelli C.,Clinical Epidemiology and Biometric Unit | Dal Bello B.,Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo | Zicchetti M.,University of Pavia | And 2 more authors.
Hepatology | Year: 2012

Real-time shear wave elastography (SWE) is a novel, noninvasive method to assess liver fibrosis by measuring liver stiffness. This single-center study was conducted to assess the accuracy of SWE in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), in comparison with transient elastography (TE), by using liver biopsy (LB) as the reference standard. Consecutive patients with CHC scheduled for LB by referring physicians were studied. One hundred and twenty-one patients met inclusion criteria. On the same day, real-time SWE using the ultrasound (US) system, Aixplorer (SuperSonic Imagine S.A., Aix-en-Provence, France), TE using FibroScan (Echosens, Paris, France), and US-assisted LB were consecutively performed. Fibrosis was staged according to the METAVIR scoring system. Analyses of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve were performed to calculate optimal area under the ROC curve (AUROC) for F0-F1 versus F2-F4, F0- F2 versus F3-F4, and F0-F3 versus F4 for both real-time SWE and TE. Liver stiffness values increased in parallel with degree of liver fibrosis, both with SWE and TE. AUROCs were 0.92 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.85-0.96) for SWE and 0.84 (95% CI: 0.76-0.90) for TE (P = 0.002), 0.98 (95% CI: 0.94-1.00) for SWE and 0.96 (95% CI: 0.90-0.99) for TE (P = 0.14), and 0.98 (95% CI: 0.93-1.00) for SWE and 0.96 (95% CI: 0.91-0.99) for TE (P = 0.48), when comparing F0-F1 versus F2- F4, F0- F2 versus F3-F4, and F0 -F3 versus F4, respectively. Conclusion: The results of this study show that real-time SWE is more accurate than TE in assessing significant fibrosis (≥F2). With respect to TE, SWE has the advantage of imaging liver stiffness in real time while guided by a B-mode image. Thus, the region of measurement can be guided with both anatomical and tissue stiffness information. © 2012 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

De Ferrari G.M.,Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo | Dusi V.,University of Pavia
Expert Opinion on Drug Safety | Year: 2012

Introduction: Dronedarone was developed with the intent of replicating the antiarrhythmic effects of amiodarone, while minimizing its side effects. Areas covered: Side effects reported in eight randomized clinical trials are discussed, comparing dronedarone and placebo (DAFNE, EURIDIS, ADONIS, ERATO, ANDROMEDA, ATHENA, PALLAS, total number of patients treated with dronedarone 5347), or dronedarone and amiodarone (DIONYSOS, total number of patients treated with dronedarone 249). Expert opinion: The results of the first trials, including ATHENA, set high expectations by suggesting that dronedarone may decrease the risk of hospitalization (and even cardiovascular mortality) among patients with paroxysmal and persistent atrial fibrillation (AF), and that it could be regarded as an easy-to-use drug that could be prescribed by general practitioners; unfortunately, dronedarone has not met these expectations. Dronedarone may increase mortality and heart failure hospitalization in patients with advanced NYHA class and in patients with permanent AF, preventing its use in these settings. In addition to gastrointestinal side effects that may lead to discontinuation in 5 10% of patients, dronedarone may induce very rare but severe liver and lung toxicity. Despite these limitations and its relatively limited antiarrhythmic potency, dronedarone may still be a useful drug for well-selected patients. © Informa UK, Ltd.

Pezzoli G.,Parkinson Institute | Cereda E.,Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo
Neurology | Year: 2013

Objective: To investigate the risk of Parkinson disease (PD) associated with exposure to pesticides and solvents using meta-analyses of data from cohort and case-control studies. Methods: Prospective cohort and case-control studies providing risk and precision estimates relating PD to exposure to pesticides or solvents or to proxies of exposure were considered eligible. The heterogeneity in risk estimates associated with objective study quality was also investigated. Results: A total of 104 studies/3,087 citations fulfilled inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. In prospective studies, study quality was not a source of heterogeneity. PD was associated with farming and the association with pesticides was highly significant in the studies in which PD diagnosis was self-reported. In case-control studies, study quality appeared to be a source of heterogeneity in risk estimates for some exposures. Higher study quality was frequently associated with a reduction in heterogeneity. In high-quality case-control studies, PD risk was increased by exposure to any-type pesticides, herbicides, and solvents. Exposure to paraquat or maneb/mancozeb was associated with about a 2-fold increase in risk. In high-quality case-control studies including an appreciable number of cases (>200), heterogeneity remained significantly high (>40%) only for insecticides, organochlorines, organophosphates, and farming; also, the risk associated with rural living was found to be significant. Conclusions: The literature supports the hypothesis that exposure to pesticides or solvents is a risk factor for PD. Further prospective and high-quality case-control studies are required to substantiate a cause-effect relationship. The studies should also focus on specific chemical agents. © 2013 American Academy of Neurology.

A study has shown that MYD88 (L265P) is a recurring somatic mutation in Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM). We developed an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for this mutation, and analyzed bone marrow or peripheral blood samples from 58 patients with WM, 77 with IgM monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (IgM-MGUS), 84 with splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL), and 52 with B-cell chronic lymphoproliferative disorders (B-CLPD). MYD88 (L265P) was detected in 58/58 (100%) patients with WM, 36/77 (47%) with IgM-MGUS, 5/84 (6%) with SMZL, and 3/52 (4%) with B-CLPD. Compared to IgM-MGUS patients with wild-type MYD88, those carrying MYD88 (L265P) showed significantly higher levels of IgM (P < .0001) and presented Bence-Jones proteinuria more frequently at diagnosis (P = .002). During follow-up, 9 patients with IgM-MGUS progressed to WM or to marginal zone lymphoma. Using a case-control approach, the risk of evolution of patients carrying MYD88 (L265P) was significantly higher than that of patients with wild-type MYD88 (odds ratio 4.7, 95% confidence interval 0.8 to 48.7, P = .047). These findings indicate that the allele-specific PCR we developed is a useful diagnostic tool for patients with WM or IgM-MGUS. In this latter condition, MYD88 (L265P) is associated with greater disease burden and higher risk of disease progression, and the mutation may therefore also represent a useful prognostic marker.

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